Monday, May 05, 2008

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Every spring I observe birders with good intentions pull Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, but then leave piles of the invasive plant along the trail. This is a particularly nasty and resilient plant and to say that garlic mustard is prolific along the corridor trail is an understatement. If you're going to pull the plants, please bag and remove them from the conservancy – do not simply leave them lying on the ground. Plants that are pulled and left behind may still set seed and by doing so you may be unwittingly contributing to the garlic mustard infestation along the stream corridor.

One of the many Garlic Mustard Gardens at Pheasant Branch

When it rains, running water may wash the pulled plants (or seeds) off the gravel trail back to the soil. Also, not everybody who walks the trail knows what these piles of plants are and may kick them off the trail. With hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of garlic mustard plants, pulling a few dozen of them isn't going to dent the problem. But those who are pulling the plants out by the hundreds should plan on bringing bags and carrying them out of the corridor.

These plants might wash into the stream next rainfall.

Link: Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin

All images © 2008 Mike McDowell

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